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Abstract

This paper explores how the discipline required for good health influences female embodiment. It examines the justification in the United States for a war against obesity and the criticism of that war made by Health at Every Size (HAES) proponents. It finds that a "good-health imperative" operates within both the fight against obesity and the size-acceptance movement. I question how such an imperative curtails the range of possibilities for pleasure. The self-monitoring required in eating and exercising for health demands a constant reading of one's behavior as good/healthy or bad/unhealthy. In addition, attention to health achieved through behavior modification draws focus away from underlying socioeconomic issues. I posit that a feminist position on the war against obesity clearly argues against a focus on weight, but that the larger issue of behavior modification for health remains much more difficult to solve.

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